Navy, the only school to participate in all NCAA Division I lacrosse tournaments, and Virgina, which handed two-time defending champion John Hopkins its only loss this season, will be favored to advance as they host first-round tournament games today.
Top-seeded Virginia (10-1) entertains 1976 and '77 tourney champion Cornell (8-4) in Charlottessville at 4:30 p.m. and Navy (11-1) hosts North Carolina (7-3) in Annapolis at 4 p.m. 4
In other first -- round games, Hopkins (11-1) hosts Harvard (11-2) and Washington-Lee (10-3) plays at Syracuse (11-1). Both games are at 3 p.m.
The semifinals will be played Saturday at the home fields of the higher-seeded teams. Should Virginia and Navy win, the two-teams would meet in Charlottesville. The title game is scheduled May 31 at Cornell.
Virginia, making its seventh NCAA appearance, shocked the lacrosse world with a 12-9 victory over Hopkins earlier in the season. The Cavaliers, led by attackmen Mike Caravana (nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points), feature a balanced offense and a strong defense, anchored by goalie Joe Bottner.
After a slow start, Cornell won six of its last eight games to earn the final tournament berth.The Big Red is led by Charlie Wood, Joe Taylor and Wade Bollinger.
Navy has not played since a 13-9 loss to Hopkins May 3. Leading the Mids, who lost to Maryland in the NCAA semifinals last year, are senior Mike Buzzell (26 goals, 13 assists), Rich Wehman (18 goals, five assists) and Syd Abernethy (17 goals, 18 assists).
North Carolina, which has lost its four previous matches against the Mids, boasts victories over Virginia and Washington-Lee this season. The young Tar Heels rely on the scoring of sophomores Kevin Griswold (20 goals, eight assists), and Doug Hall (11 goals, 10 assists) and the net work of freshman goalkeeper Tom Sears.
Hopkins, not used to second billing, will be breathing fire in its game against co-Ivy League champion Harvard, which is making its first NCAA appearance.
Goalie Mike Federico and defenseman Mark Greenberg, voted the top players at their respective positions last year as juniors, along with midfielder Brendan Schneck, who has 33 goals and 24 assists, spearhead the Hopkins attack.